Flat6Labs, MENA’s leading seed investor and the largest manager of startup programs in the region, has announced the launch of a new USD 20 million Seed Fund in Jordan. Created to nurture the growth and development of early-stage companies, the Jordan Seed Fund (JSF) has achieved a first close of USD7.4 million and attracted contributions from prominent investors such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF), Beyond Capital, Bank Al-Etihad, and GMS Ventures & Investments.
Applications for the program’s first four-month cycle are now open. Participating companies will have the opportunity to benefit from a cash seed investment of up to JOD 50 thousand each, together with potential follow-on funding of up to JOD 120 thousand. In addition to attractive funding opportunities, startups will benefit from the Flat6Labs Amman seed program. The program will run over a five-year period and is set to deliver a host of benefits to between 14 and 18 startups every year, including office space, world-class mentorship and access to Flat6Labs’ regional network.
The program is specifically targeted at startups in innovation-based and knowledge-driven sectors such as Information and Communication Technologies, Software Solutions, Education, Healthcare, Digital Content and Games, Hardware, Electronics, Manufacturing Solutions, Renewable Energy, Agricultural Solutions, Big Data and Analytics, FinTech and Payments, Media, and Entertainment. Each of the selected startups will receive tailored support designed to help them scale and grow their businesses, with the long-term goal of creating regional, and ultimately global, champions.
Participating companies will also benefit from opportunities for regional exposure and mentorship through Flat6Labs’ extensive international network, together with coaching from established business leaders. Each startup will be paired with at least three highly experienced mentors. In addition, Flat6Labs Amman will arrange Demo Days, support fundraising and business build-out, and deliver a full spectrum of support designed to help new businesses flourish.
Ramez El-Serafy, Flat6Labs CEO, commented: “We are delighted to expand our presence into Jordan with the launch of an early-stage fund and seed program, which creates exciting opportunities for local startups. As the region’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, Flat6Labs is well placed to support the aspirations of the Kingdom’s talented entrepreneurs and help them take their businesses to the next level. We aim to support the growth and development of Jordan’s start-up ecosystem, and thus contribute to a thriving national economy.”
Rasha Manna, General Manager of Flat6Labs Jordan, added: “Jordan is home to a pool of talented entrepreneurs who are ready to showcase their ideas to the world. We provide foundational support to startups through funding, mentorship and networking opportunities across the region and beyond. We are excited to now open applications for our first cycle and look forward to starting work with Jordan’s most promising startups in the very near future to help them effectively scale and grow their business.”
Laith Al-Qasem, CEO at ISSF shared: “ISSF has been mandated to improve the Jordanian entrepreneurial ecosystem through acting as a fund of funds and through facilitating the creation of new funds to serve the investment needs of entrepreneurs and start-ups along their journey towards success. Flat6Labs fills an important gap and role by providing studied equity capital starting from seed stage accompanied by competent hands on incubation and mentoring which will facilitate speedier and more focused growth in the investments they make.”
“Jordan is an attractive market for entrepreneurship and early-stage capital given its young and increasingly urban population, high rates of technology adoption, and increasing government support,” said Abdullah Jefri, IFC’s Country Manager for the Levant “Addressing the funding gaps will help build a robust startup ecosystem to tap into this potential and spur innovation and economic growth in Jordan and the region.”
Launched in 2011, Flat6Labs has grown to become the MENA region’s leading startup accelerator managing seed funds with a total AUM of more than $85 million. The company has run over 40 seed program cycles, funding the creation and seeding of more than 320 companies. Approximately 40% of Flat6Labs’ graduating companies have succeeded in securing follow-on rounds of funding from regional and global institutions and individuals at higher valuations, translating to an unrealized IRR in excess of 25%.
Applications for the Flat6Labs Amman Seed Program are open now. To find out more, please click below.
Celebrating International Women’s Day: Empowering Female-Led Innovation in Healthcare
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 29 February 2024: Organon, a global healthcare company dedicated to improving women’s health, in partnership with Flat6Labs, MENA’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, is thrilled to announce the launch of the second cycle of the Women’s Health Accelerator Program. Building on the success of the inaugural cycle and the incredible momentum witnessed across the region, this initiative aims to empower digital health startups with solutions to enhance women’s health across the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey (MENAT) region.
The second cycle will hone in on three main focus sectors critical to women’s health:
Family Planning: Technologies Enhancing Contraception Counseling and Education and Awareness of Tools and Options.
Fertility Planning: Solutions for IVF Mental Health Support and Counseling.
Women’s Wellness: Innovations in Self & Maternal Care, Disease Prevention, and Menstrual Health.
The overarching objective of this accelerator program is to address specific challenges faced by women in the region concerning their health, aiming to find sustainable and long-term solutions. The focus will be on identifying and supporting digital solutions that can help improve accessibility, empower individuals, and enhance overall quality of well-being, ultimately advancing women’s healthcare in the areas identified. This year’s program will target startups operating in several countries, including Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, KSA, and the UAE. The majority of these countries have established Organon & Flat6Labs offices, with both entities having local partners in these geographies.
The initiative aims to accelerate the growth of 15 startups, and engage with various stakeholders, ultimately graduating startups that are ready to launch and address current challenges in women’s health. Additionally, the program will include virtual and on-ground community events such as info sessions, roadshows, pitchathons, and webinars to strengthen outreach, scouting, and selection efforts.
The second cycle of the Women’s Health Accelerator Program introduces enhanced program offerings. These offerings include:
In-Depth Training: Startups will receive specialized training in business and technical aspects, equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary for success.
Mentorship and Guidance: Participants will benefit from mentorship provided by industry experts, connecting them to a vast network of local and international mentors, investors, and corporates.
Exposure to Stakeholders: Startups will have unique opportunities for exposure to key stakeholders, enhancing their visibility and creating valuable connections within the industry.
Regional Business Support: Access to a regional network across the region and support with market expansion.
Commenting on the program’s second cycle, Ramy Koussa, Associate Vice President, Organon, Middle East North Africa & Turkey (MENAT), stated, “Investing in women’s health shows positive return on investment (ROI): for every $1 invested, ~$3 is projected in economic growth. Investing in improving women’s health not only improves women’s quality of life but also enables them to participate more actively in the workforce and make a living. The potential value created through women’s higher economic participation and productivity exceeds the costs of implementation by a ratio of $3 to $1 globally. Launching the second cycle of the Women’s Health Accelerator Program marks a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to advancing women’s health in the MENAT region. We are excited to deepen our partnership with Flat6Labs and continue listening to the needs of women, identifying innovative solutions that foster a better and healthier every day for her. This cycle is a testament to our sustained dedication to collaboration, innovation, and the empowerment of women-led startups in the digital healthcare space.”
Yehia Houry, Chief Programs Officer at Flat6Labs, emphasized the importance of supporting female entrepreneurs and advancing women’s healthcare, stating, “As we embark on the second cycle of the Women’s Health Accelerator Program, we are thrilled to amplify our support for female entrepreneurs shaping the future of women’s healthcare. This initiative is not just about innovation; it’s about empowering visionary minds to create lasting impact. Our ongoing partnership with Organon and the evolving focus of this cycle reaffirm our commitment to fostering a dynamic ecosystem for women-led startups. Together, we aim to revolutionize the healthcare landscape, ensuring it reflects the diverse and nuanced needs of women across the MENAT region.”
In the accelerator program’s first cycle, we witnessed the remarkable achievements of three standout startups that were announced as the winners: “OMGYNO” founded by Doreen Toutikian and Elisabeth Milini in Greece and Lebanon, “Siira” founded by Sandra Salame in Lebanon, and “Maternally” founded by Yasmin El Mouallem in the UAE. These visionary companies have not only demonstrated innovation and excellence but have also become integral parts of our ecosystem. As we embark on the second cycle, we are thrilled to welcome these winners back into the fold. Their invaluable insights, experiences, and successes will serve as guiding lights for the new cohort of startups, enriching the program with their expertise and contributing to its continued success.
For more information about the Women’s Health Accelerator Program’s second cycle and the application process, please visit our website here. The applications close on May 16, 2024.
In 2013, Flat6Labs made its first regional presence in Saudi Arabia, with the goal of supporting Saudi entrepreneurs to successfully launch their businesses and reach regional and global markets.
Today, as per MAGNiTT’s KSA VC report, Flat6Labs is deemed the most active investor in KSA startups in 2023. In that year, Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund (SSF) reached the highest number of pre-seed and seed transactions in one year in recorded KSA history through the Flat6Labs Riyadh Seed Program, with almost 1,000 startup applications, and 20 startups invested in from a variety of industries including SaaS, FinTech, EdTech, HealthTech, PropTech, Legal Tech, Social Commerce, and Robotics.
This brings us to the question, what are the hidden opportunities in the Saudi market? How could an investor/VC implement a diversified and structured investment process in the region?
Why do we think Saudi Arabia possesses hidden opportunities?
1- The hidden potential is not correlated with the conventional KSA economy
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that the Saudi economy is undergoing a transformation as reforms are being implemented to reduce dependence on oil, diversify sources of income, and enhance competitiveness. Progress has been most notably reflected in non-oil growth, which has accelerated since 2021, averaging 4.8% in 2022.
Today, FinTech ranked first among industries in the Kingdom as the top industry of choice for investors for deals and capital deployed, contributing to 51% of the country’s capital deployed, followed by e-commerce/retail, enterprise software, EdTech, and healthcare.
The growth of these industries shows global and regional investors that Saudi Arabia has surpassed the tradition related to its conventional economy and is now headed towards a preference for entrepreneurship and tech industries.
2- Early-Stage Startups Are an Underserved Opportunity
While Series C funding saw a notable increase in Saudi Arabia during 2023, pre-seed and seed stages remain more or less flat and appear less observed compared to later stages. This gap in early-stage funding points to an opportunity for institutional investors to be active and take advantage of favorable market dynamics.
3- The Saudi Market Attracts Innovative Entrepreneurs
With a population of over 35 million, Saudi Arabia possesses a large and dynamic consumer market that is exceptionally ideal for tech startups to expand in for the following reasons:
- Saudi Arabia ranks 2nd among countries in internet inclusivity.
- Saudi Arabia has become the biggest user of YouTube per capita in the world, and has the 6th highest active social media penetration in the world, with 99% of the population active on social media.
- Saudi Arabia is proven to have one of the highest and fastest-growing credit card penetration rates in the MENA region.
Besides the attractive consumer market, over 15 million young people will enter the workforce in the region within the next 10 years. Saudi Arabia, with its rapidly growing and youthful population, will represent a large portion of these direly needed jobs, as it attracts immigrants from all around the region.
4- Structural Reforms of The Kingdom
Saudi Vision 2030 builds on the unique position of the Kingdom at the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds, being an investment powerhouse, and the hub connecting three continents.
One of Saudi Vision 2030’s goals is to raise the share of non-oil exports in non-oil GDP to 50% and increase non-oil government revenue to SAR 1 Trillion.
As per that vision, digital transformation has and will continue to have a momentous positive impact on the Saudi economy, particularly with the diversification of the economy away from its reliance on the oil industry.
In addition, the Saudi government seeks to raise its ranking in the Government Effectiveness Index to 20 worldwide by increasing the effectiveness of its e-government systems, as well as raising its rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rank to one of the top 15 economies.
5- Future Prospects
The startup market in Saudi Arabia is growing with a clear government-backed mandate and strategic plans. These plans included boosting the development of the SME sector by the formation of the Council of Economic Affairs and Development, the SME Bank, the announcement of free zones, and notable updates to the companies’ laws. Lately, SMEs in Saudi Arabia have represented almost 93% of total enterprises but account for about 60% of total employment.
Also, as part of the Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is aiming to become one of the top 20 countries in ease of doing business.
6- The Untapped Potential for Investors and VCs
Despite the potential in the KSA startup ecosystem, the LP (Limited Partner) base and local funding sources still lag behind international counterparts.
This gap provides opportunities for investors and VCs to tap into the ecosystem early and potentially outperform traditional asset classes. By strategically investing in viable startups, investors can potentially capture significant returns and reap the benefits of early involvement in a thriving ecosystem.
Lessons learned from a decade of early-stage investing
First: Early-stage VC is key to a truly diversified portfolio
Integrating various asset classes is pivotal for constructing a truly diversified portfolio for investors and VCs. Adding relatively small positions in alternative investments provides investors with enhanced returns for the same level of risk. Therefore, funds and other pooled investment vehicles provide an efficient tool to access a large number of investment positions within an asset class.
Throughout our 11-year history, we’ve observed a consistent lack of correlation (and alpha) between the performance of our investment portfolio and the public market equity indices in the MENA region. This highlights the significance of early-stage investments to achieve a truly diversified portfolio.
Second: Open and neutral investment platforms enable market efficiency
Choosing an open and neutral investment platform is integral to nurture a thriving startup ecosystem and enable price discovery and market efficiency. It ultimately benefits all stakeholders, enhancing trust and optimizing resource allocation within the market ecosystem.
Third: There are different fundamental drivers at play compared to other asset classes in the same geography
The KSA startup ecosystem is fueled by unique fundamental drivers that differentiate it from other asset classes in the same geographic region. Government support, a youthful and tech-savvy population, and a strategic Saudi Vision 2030 have created an environment that is ripe for innovation and growth. These drivers have led to the emergence of a distinct investment landscape that offers investors and VCs the chance to tap into untapped potential and capture strong returns.
Flat6Labs’ Fingerprint in Early Stage Startups Funding
After assessing the gap in the market and the risks and opportunities at hand, Flat6Labs became an active investor in the Riyadh ecosystem with strategic positioning and de-risking priorities in mind.
- Strategic Positioning: Flat6Labs’ early-stage focus in Saudi Arabia is a competitive edge, allowing it to fill the market void and lock in attractive valuations for up-and-coming startups.
- Riyadh Seed Program De-Risked Advantage: With a targeted accelerator approach, Flat6Labs’ programs are set to de-risk opportunities by instilling best practices to catalyze growth in the early-stage sector that’s ripe for investment.
The ecosystem in Saudi Arabia possesses untapped potential that deserves to be invested in. From that standpoint, Flat6Labs Riyadh Seed Program supports startups with high growth potential to enhance their entrepreneurial skills and create a space for the Saudi youth to develop their startups and scale up their business in the MENA region.
If you are an early-stage Saudi-based startup, join our Riyadh Seed Program to get cash seed funding, strategic mentorship, networking opportunities, and a multitude of perks and services.
In a strategic move to strengthen its existing footprint in the vibrant African startup ecosystem, Flat6Labs, the leading seed venture capital firm in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, proudly welcomes Christine Namara as Partner for its Africa Seed Fund. With more than a decade of profound experience in private equity, startup operations, and venture capital, Namara brings unparalleled expertise and an extensive network to Flat6Labs’ recently announced US $95 million Africa Seed Fund (ASF), aimed at nurturing early-stage tech startups across Africa.
Africa Seed Fund has three key focus investment regions: North Africa, West Africa, and East Africa, which will see Flat6Labs expanding its footprint into East and West Africa. Namara’s regional expertise will be instrumental in establishing and managing such a presence, ensuring a seamless integration with the local startup ecosystems. Over the next five years, ASF aims to invest in more than 160 early-stage startups operating in the technology sector in Africa.
Describing herself as “vigorously pan-African,” Namara has extensive experience within the African technology ecosystem. Her remarkable journey has seen her transition from the operational side to the dynamic world of venture capital. In her previous roles at two prominent high-growth startups in East Africa, Namara honed her skills in B2B sales, people management, and product management. Prior to joining Flat6Labs, she was the lead of capital ventures at a reputable accelerator for early-stage start-ups in Africa. This diverse background has afforded Namara an intricate understanding of the multifaceted challenges and opportunities that early-stage entrepreneurs encounter in the ever-evolving African tech landscape.
In joining Africa Seed Fund, Namara assumes a pivotal position in identifying, nurturing, and supporting innovative startups. Her vast experience in private equity and venture capital equips her with unrivaled knowledge and strategic insights, making her an invaluable asset to the fund’s mission.
“With innovation as our compass and collaboration as our engine, I am honoured to join Flat6Labs, a pioneering force in shaping Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape. Together, we will embark on a transformative journey, unlocking the vast potential of startups across the continent. In this interconnected world, every idea has the power to change lives. I am excited to champion these innovations, catalyzing progress and leaving a lasting impact on communities in Africa and beyond,” Namara says.
General Partners of Africa Seed Fund Dina el-Shenoufy and Ramez El Serafy highlighted that Namara’s appointment is a significant step for the company’s African expansion journey. Her wealth of knowledge, coupled with her extensive regional network, will be invaluable to the team as we continue to support and nurture innovative startups on the continent through the Africa Seed Fund which is potentially expected to impact the continent with more than 14,000 jobs, provide support to more than 1,200 founders with 20% female participation, and generate revenue of more than US$700M.
Riyadh Valley Company, the investment arm of King Saud University and a prominent player in the investment landscape of Saudi Arabia, is delighted to announce its strategic investment in Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund, a move that solidifies its commitment to supporting the growth and development of the region’s vibrant startup ecosystem.
This investment marks a significant milestone in Riyadh Valley Company’s mission to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is part of the company’s broader strategy to identify and partner with initiatives that have the potential to drive meaningful change in the region. The fund enables startups to receive follow-on funding up to SAR 2.4 million and the support and training programs provided by the program for select companies.
The Startup Seed Fund is a closed-ended fund that invests in early-stage startups operating in the technology and innovation sectors within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The fund will adopt a highly diversified, systematic investment plan that aims to reduce the risks faced by venture capital and reduce the administrative and legal costs incurred by early-stage startups. The fund has invested in 20 innovative startups, with an investment value exceeding SAR 15,000,000.
Commenting on this strategic investment, Dr. Khalid Al-Saleh, CEO of Riyadh Valley Company, stated, “Riyadh Valley Company is excited to partner with Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund LP. We recognize the incredible potential and innovative spirit of startups in the region and understand the vital role they play in advancing our economy. This collaboration is a testament to our dedication to providing the resources and support necessary to help these startups thrive and scale their businesses.”
Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund has a proven track record of supporting and accelerating startups across various sectors. With Riyadh Valley Company’s investment, the fund is poised to further expand its operations, reach more entrepreneurs, and make a substantial impact on the region’s startup landscape.
Commenting on the investment, Eyad Albayouk of Flat6Labs, expressed, “We are thrilled to welcome Riyadh Valley Company as a strategic partner in our Startup Seed Fund. This collaboration will undoubtedly enhance our ability to support startups and drive innovation in the Kingdom. We look forward to working together to achieve our shared goal of fostering entrepreneurial success in the country.”
Riyadh Valley Company’s investment in Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund underscores the company’s dedication to advancing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification goals and promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Investing Up to $100K in Construction Tech Startups in Egypt
Flat6Labs, the region’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, has launched the “Makers” ConTech Accelerator Program in partnership with SIAC and Dar Al-Handasah (Shair and Partners). The program is the first-ever construction-focused accelerator program in the Middle East that aims to support advanced startups in the construction technology industry.
The “Makers” ConTech Accelerator Program will provide select startups with up to $100,000 in funding per startup as well as grant access to pilot projects, industry experts, mentorship, business training, one-on-one consultations, coaching sessions, networking opportunities, and essential resources to cultivate and scale their businesses. The program will last 12 weeks, startups will be chosen based on their unique new technology, hardworking founders, and exceptionally promising products, presented at a minimum viable product (MVP) level or higher.
The launch of the new program follows Makers’ first pre-accelerator program, which ran in early 2023 and which aimed to promote construction industry innovation through connecting and engaging with various industry stakeholders with extensive expertise, thereby creating sustainable innovation ecosystems for resolving construction-related challenges within SIAC, Dar, and the industry at large. The pre-accelerator program graduated nine of the most innovative ConTech startups in Egypt – including Reblox, Tawredaat, AION Innovation, Masafa, HomeLab, A.D Innovations, Makinahub, and JEEZAR. During the pre-accelerator, these startups were offered strategic mentorship, entrepreneurship-focused business training, one-on-one sessions with subject matter experts, as well as other benefits that would empower them to develop and present their innovative ideas and solutions.
With the launch of the new accelerator program, Flat6Labs intends to provide ongoing support to construction technology startups. The program will initially focus on Egyptian entrepreneurs, before expanding to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and subsequently to the wider MENA region.
Commenting on the new Makers Accelerator Program, Faysal Shair, Head of Digital Solutions at Dar, said, “We are thrilled to continue our exceptional collaboration with SIAC and Flat6Labs to accelerate the transformation of the construction industry. We believe that the program will promote innovation in the construction industry and foster talents in construction tech, empowering them to showcase their innovative solutions and work alongside industry leaders to bring those solutions to the market. We are looking forward to seeing what the selected startups will bring to the table.”
“We are proud to be a part of the journey towards digitizing the construction industry and unlocking more opportunities and potential for ConTech startups in Egypt,” stated Seif Ragab, Deputy CEO at SIAC. “The digital revolution of the construction industry is becoming more crucial than ever and we are excited to capitalize on this momentum and make major leaps. We are confident that the expansion of this program would essentially help the growth and development of the region’s constructing industry.”
“We are excited to announce the launch of an accelerator program in collaboration with SIAC and Dar Al-Handasah, with the hope that it will serve as a conduit for the development of cutting-edge innovation while driving growth and opportunities for promising startups,” said Yehia Houry, Chief Programs Officer at Flat6Labs. “We are proud of the success of the pre-accelerator program, and we believe that Makers will have a significant impact on the construction industry in Egypt, and eventually across the Middle East.”
Compared to other sectors like fintech, the construction industry typically moves at a slower pace when it comes to embracing innovation or digitalization. The Makers program strives to equip construction entrepreneurs with the necessary support in order to provide innovative solutions and fresh technologies that optimize and automate construction industry processes, making them more efficient and sustainable while propelling the sector forward.
Flat6Labs is the MENA region’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, currently running the most renowned startup programs in the region. Flat6Labs invests in innovative and technology-driven startups enabling thousands of passionate entrepreneurs to achieve their daring ambitions and ultimately becoming their institutional co-founders.
Flat6Labs manages a number of seed funds with a total AUM in excess of $85M. More than 25 leading institutions have invested into the Flat6Labs managed funds; believing in the asset class and Flat6Labs’ proven track record as the market leader. Flat6Labs provides a wide range of investment ticket sizes ranging from $50K to $500k, supporting startups through their early journeys from Pre-Seed all the way to Pre-Series A stages. Alongside the investments, Flat6Labs’ exceptional startup programs, executed to cater specifically for the needs of the innovative entrepreneurs, helps them accelerate their growth by providing them with a plethora of support services and connecting them to unparalleled opportunities with an expansive network comprising hundreds of business mentors, investors and corporates.
Launched and headquartered in Cairo since 2011, Flat6Labs has multiple offices across the region; with ongoing plans to expand into other emerging markets.
For more information, visit www.flat6labs.com
SIAC Construction is one of the leading regional construction private sector companies in Egypt and the Middle East. Since its establishment in 1986; SIAC gained a vast record of experience in the construction of mega projects; including top-quality finishing buildings, heavy industrial construction, power plants, infrastructure, and petrochemical projects.
SIAC’s aim is to create a difference in quality construction, by implementing the most modern management and construction systems, in order to ensure and improve its position as a leader in the construction field.
SIAC also is a member of SIAC Holding which was established to manage the diversified activities of the Group. These activities include construction, development, and building materials.
Dar is one of the world’s leading consultancies, providing design, planning, engineering, and project management services for a wide variety of market sectors, including buildings and cities, transportation and civil infrastructure, and water and the environment, and project management. We are a global community of over 7,850 talented and innovative engineers, planners, economists, architects, designers, project management specialists, construction management professionals, and multidisciplinary experts. We take on some of the world’s most exciting and ambitious projects in order to nurture sustainable development, empower and connect communities, create more and better opportunities, and enhance lives. Our company’s portfolio includes over 4,500 projects, collectively worth $540 billion, delivered for over 950 clients. The firm’s commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and sustainable development has earned it a reputation as a trusted and reliable partner in shaping a better future for communities around the world.
Dar is also the founder of Dar Group – a global network of industry-leading brands with over 18,600 employees in more than 300 offices around the world. According to the industry-standard Engineering News Record, Dar Group has ranked among the top 10 international design firms for over 15 years, and it currently ranks 1st in the Middle East and 3rd in Africa (ENR 2022).
Tripoli, May 2023. The new “Deraya – دِرَايَــة Entrepreneurship Initiative” for young entrepreneurs seeks to build a dynamic ecosystem of innovative entrepreneurs and startups in Libya.
Young entrepreneurs in Libya face many challenges, including accessing markets and financial resources, and navigating regulations and administrative procedures. The Deraya initiative is designed to equip entrepreneurs with the essential know-how to turn innovative ideas into successful startups. The initiative was jointly developed by the Ministry of Local Government (MoLG), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Targeting youth and vulnerable groups, Deraya is open to innovative and aspiring entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35. Through interactive webinars, the initiative’s participants will be given an opportunity to engage with experienced entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, and role models from Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia and learn from their success stories, wealth of knowledge, and expertise. The initiative will also entail startup weekends in Tripoli, Benghazi, Sebha, and Derna, culminating with a pitch competition where the winning startups will receive financial support, financed by EU and AfDB, to further develop, grow, and take their business ideas to the next level. As a critical step towards sustainability, entrepreneurs will be linked to the municipal business incubators being set up with MoLG with UNDP’s technical support.
Commenting on the launch of the initiative, Dr. Bader Al-Deen Al-Tomi, Minister of Local Government, said: “The Deraya initiative plays a pivotal role in the Ministry of Local Government’s strategy to develop entrepreneurship and micro-enterprises at the local level, empower municipalities economically, and provide job opportunities in line with Law 59 and Resolution 1500 . We are delighted to work towards these goals in cooperation with our international partners, EU, AfDB and UNDP.”
EU Ambassador Mr. José Sabadell added: “Libya’s economic prosperity will be driven by young entrepreneurs with innovative, forward-looking ideas. They will be the key to a more diversified Libyan economy, a strong private sector and new jobs. Together with our Libyan and international partners, the European Union therefore seeks to offer strong and concrete support to young Libyan entrepreneurs, to realise their business ideas.”
Mr Mohamed El Azizi, Regional Director for North Africa at the African Development Bank, further commented: “Private sector development is key to boosting economic diversification and job creation in Libya. Supporting the trajectory of young Libyan men and women to develop and grow their start-ups has enormous socio-economic potential and will contribute to job creation. It is also important to ensure an adequate business enabling environment and institutional support. The EEYES project, financed by the AfDB through the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multidonor Trust Fund, and implemented by UNDP, supports these components.”
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Marc-André Franche, said: “Libya has a new generation of young people, women and men, , with promising capacity and big ambitions. The country has the potential to be one of the biggest entrepreneurial ecosystems in North Africa, and through the Deraya programme, UNDP seek to help inspire and provide young entrepreneurs with the necessary resources and assets to realise growth and innovation.”
The Deraya programme is part of UNDP’s Local Peacebuilding and Resilience efforts in partnership with MoLG, aimed at creating socio-economic opportunities for youth and vulnerable groups to promote sustainable growth in Libya, including the establishment of the first Municipality-led business incubator and the TEC+ Accelerator programme.
The Deraya initiative, co-funded by AfDB and EU, is designed and implemented in collaboration with a consortium consisting of Flat6Labs, Tatweer Research and MAZAM, bringing in years of experience and specialized knowledge in helping young entrepreneurs launch successful ventures in both the Middle East & Africa regions.
Further information and how to apply can be found on the website: deraya.ly.
UNDP supports Libya’s transition towards peace, economic recovery, and sustainable development to help the country get on a more robust development path by supporting local authorities to restore essential services delivery and livelihood opportunities and promote peaceful co-existence. Job creation for youth is at the heart of UNDP’s local Peacebuilding efforts. This initiative is part of UNDP’s “Environment towards youth entrepreneurship support and positive migration governance project (EEYES)” programme financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Strengthening Local Capacity for Resilience and Recovery Project funded by the North of Africa Window of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Stability which contributes to addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa (EUTF – NOA). The Deraya initiative is implemented in partnership with Flat6Labs, Tatweer and Mazam.
Cairo, Egypt – 14th, March 2023: Flat6Labs, MENA’s leading seed investor, has announced the launch of a new US$95 million Seed Fund to nurture the growth and development of early-stage tech startups on the African continent. Flat6Labs has a proven track record in carefully vetting out and investing in promising startups in North Africa since it was founded 12 years ago, with more than US$16M invested in startups, and over US$191M raised in follow-on funding while creating more than 2,500 direct jobs and 80,000 indirect jobs through its first two funds in Egypt and Tunisia.
Headquartered in Egypt, the Africa Seed Fund (ASF) will focus on three main investment territories in Africa: North Africa, West Africa, and East Africa. Flat6Labs will be extending its reach into several new territories including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Senegal, amongst others. The ASF will be led by Ramez El-Serafy and Dina el-Shenoufy as General Partners for the fund. The fund will invest in more than 160 early-stage startups over the next five years that operate in the technology sector in Africa, with a focus on impactful sectors that accelerate digital inclusion through the use of information technologies and industries which contribute to addressing social and environmental challenges, such as HealthTech, FinTech, EdTech, GreenTech, AgriTech, ClimateTech, and other sectors.The significant influx of capital from the ASF has the potential to create more than 14,000 jobs, provide support to more than 1,200 founders with 20% female participation, and generate revenue of more than US$700M.
Ramez El-Serafy, General Partner for ASF, says, “We are extremely excited about the launch of the Africa Seed Fund. Africa is one of the most exciting regions to invest in tech and innovation, with huge untapped potential and unique business opportunities. We will leverage our experience and knowledge to guide the startup founders to create truly scalable, investment-ready, Africa-based companies.”
The African tech ecosystem has continued to grow in 2022. According to Partech 2022 Africa Venture Capital Report, funding for the African sector increased to US$6.5B in 2022, up from US$6.0B in 2021. Clearly, the deep forces driving growth of the African tech ecosystem have prevailed against the global headwinds.
With the Africa Seed Fund, Flat6Labs will be investing in 160 companies that are in Pre-Seed up to Pre-Series A stage, with tickets ranging from US$150K-US$500K through the Flat6Labs’ Africa Seed Program and will also be providing seed tickets to seasoned founders independently of the program. ASF will also be able to reinvest into portfolio companies in follow-on rounds.
Flat6Labs’ Africa Seed Program provides portfolio companies joining the program with seed funding, regional business support, access to a regional network of seasoned local mentors, as well as regulatory and logistical support to set up and grow their businesses. The program also adapts to be regional with a hybrid model allowing for physical on-the-ground interactions in local markets while combining virtual elements that allow for cohort interactions across the entire fund region. Two cohorts will be run annually, with an average of 10 to 15 startups per cohort. The first investments in the selected startups are planned to be made before the end of 2023.
Dina el-Shenoufy, General Partner for ASF, says, “The Africa Seed Fund is well-positioned to be a catalyst for driving long-term positive change that the youth of Africa really deserve, and to providing resources to the brightest of them, while accelerating the future of the African continent. The program is designed to provide entrepreneurs with the resources that they need to be able to grow and to scale-up their businesses to new heights.”
“We have observed that the entrepreneurial market has matured over the years with a new wave of founders that are more experienced. We will also cater for these founders and offer higher ticket sizes to support these companies and a different track to the program” el-Shenoufy added.
The Africa Seed Fund (ASF) is being established by Flat6Labs, project (SAIS), with the support of the GIZ on behalf of the German Government, and through the Egyptian Agricultural Innovation Project (AIP) and Scaling Digital Agricultural Innovations through Start-ups project (SAIS).
(Amman, Jordan – March 11, 2023) — Venture capital firm Flat6Labs recently held its third demo day on March 7, at the Four Seasons Amman, bringing together a wide array of mentors, investors, and entrepreneurs. The special event celebrated the seven startups’ successful completion of the Amman Seed Program. And it was an opportunity for these new companies to showcase their achievements and receive recognition for the hard work they demonstrated over the past several months.
The seven startups presented their innovative products and solutions during the event. Companies based on AdTech, FinTech, FashionTech, AutoTech, FoodTech, HealthTech, and LogTech. Cayyesh, InvoiceQ, Makesy, Markabte, Kitchmarket, Sawaaid, and Olivery showcased their cutting-edge services that cover a wide array of sectors mentioned above, paving the way for them to succeed in the digital age.
Commenting on the occasion, the General Manager of Flat6Labs, Rasha Manna, stated, “We are proud to witness the progress of the third cohort during the program. Demo day represents the culmination of the efforts they have put in during the program. Our support does not end here, we continue to work closely with our portfolio companies as they scale up. We are proud to be part of their journey, and we constantly seek talented entrepreneurs from the local community.”
The current cohort is the third cycle of the company’s Seed Program. Participants in the program are able to gain insight and benefit from the expertise and guidance of top-notch professionals in their respective fields. The program has also enabled these startups to grow exponentially in terms of their business goals, execution plans, and overall success.
During the four months period, the seven startups gained the opportunity to develop their business and elevate it to new heights. In addition, the program opened the door for them to gain customers, develop their products, expand their reach in the market, leverage the tools they are handed, and create a strategic plan. With the program’s resources, these startups are poised to lead successful businesses and accelerate their growth.
– StartMashreq seeks to support innovative entrepreneurs in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq, with a focus on empowering women, refugees, minorities, and displaced persons.
– The program will work to build a diverse digital community of entrepreneurial pioneers, while promoting socioeconomic development, prosperity, and sustainability through innovation and inclusion.
– StartMashreq will provide comprehensive business incubation and support to entrepreneurs, including enhancing access to investment opportunities and helping build local and regional partnerships.
Amman, Jordan – March 06, 2023 — Flat6Labs, the MENA region’s leading seed investor, has officially announced the launch of its StartMashreq entrepreneurship program. The regional program is being implemented over a two-year period in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the government of the Netherlands. As the first program of its kind, StartMashreq will offer comprehensive support to entrepreneurs across a broad segment of society throughout the Levant region. Targeting underserved demographics in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq—including women, refugees, minorities, and internally displaced persons—StartMashreq is open to entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 45 who are seeking to develop their innovative ideas and projects.
The program seeks to provide wide-reaching opportunities, capabilities, and support to beneficiaries. StartMashreq will focus heavily on entrepreneurs working in education, fintech, financial inclusion, healthcare technology, agriculture, environment, and information and communication technology. By prioritizing the success, growth, and sustainability of projects in these fields, the program aims to diversify economic opportunities in the targeted countries and contribute to their overall socioeconomic development.
The program will work along three main tracks—StartMashreq Academy, the Growth Support Program, and the Incubation Program—ultimately forming a strong, well-rounded base of support for creative entrepreneurs.
Through StartMashreq Academy, individuals who aspire to sharpen their personal and professional skills will be able to benefit from a wide range of resources, on www.startmashreq.com. The platform includes tools like data and infographics; digital and interactive sessions, seminars, and talks led by experienced business leaders; pre-recorded training courses across a variety of specialized topics; and blog posts and articles written by experts from across the region.
During the StartMashreq Incubation program, which will be carried out across four cycles, participants will receive the training and resources they need to develop a comprehensive business plan and growth strategy. Trainers and mentors will be available to guide participants through interactive, one-on-one sessions, while group sessions will allow these entrepreneurs to share their experiences and exchange expertise.
For more mature startups, StartMashreq’s Growth Support Program will help participants pursue advanced opportunities for growth. The program will provide a total of 20 startups throughout the region with access to a series of workshops and meetings tailored to address their unique challenges and needs. These participants will gain access to international networking channels and events, where they will be able to meet potential partners, customers, and investors. Most importantly, participants will receive local and international legal support at no cost.
“Entrepreneurs can be game changers when it comes to job creation and economic growth in the Levant region. However, underserved groups, like women, young people, and the forcibly displaced, struggle to access the support they need to start a business. I am proud that IFC is partnering with Flat6Labs to launch the StartMashreq program to help startups get critical training, mentorship, and funding,” said Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, IFC Regional Director for the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Commenting on the launch of the program, Yehia Houry, Flat6Labs Chief Programs Officer, said, “The Arab world, and the Levant region in particular, has always been full of promising young people with big ambitions. Unfortunately, many of the youth in our region lack access to the tools, resources, and opportunities they need to succeed. At Flat6Labs, we believe in the importance of providing a complete system of support for all segments of society and all stages of the entrepreneurial process, which is why we are proud to launch the StartMashreq program, which complements our existing investment programs in Jordan and Lebanon. Through this initiative, we hope to inspire an entrepreneurial movement and provide the tools and resources necessary to nurture that movement.”
The StartMashreq platform will be open to all interested candidates across Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq to access free educational content and tools, helping them enrich their expertise. To apply for the Incubation and Growth Support programs, interested individuals and entrepreneurs should create an account on the StartMashreq website and complete the registration form. The support from the IFC and the government of the Netherlands for StartMashreq falls under the PROSPECTS Partnership. PROSPECTS is a global partnership that aims to improve the access of host communities and forcibly displaced people to education, social protection, and decent work. The partnership is spearheaded by the Government of the Netherlands, and it brings together IFC, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank.
Flat6Labs, the MENA region’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, hosted its 18th and 19th cycle startups on February 15th, 2023, at the Flat6Labs 2023 Demo Day in Cairo at the Grand Egyptian Museum. This Demo Day event introduced 12 growth-driven tech startups from the Flat6Labs Seed Program in Cairo, operating in an array of industries, namely Fintech, SaaS, E-commerce, Transportation, Food and Beverage, AgriTech, AI & Machine Learning, Recruitment, and EdTech. The portfolio companies showcased their innovative products and solutions to an audience of more than 500 attendees, including investors from Egypt and the region, representatives from our partners, and enablers in the startup ecosystem.
This Demo Day event marked the culmination of the 5 year investment period of the Flat6Labs Accelerator Company (FAC) Fund in Egypt, where Flat6Labs has successfully invested EGP 152M in seed and follow-on funding in 91 startups, 47% of which raised EGP 1.1Bn in follow-on funding.
Flat6Labs’ CIO, Dina el-Shenoufy said, “I’m proud to say that Flat6Labs has played a pivotal role in stimulating the Egyptian economy through the investments we’ve made over the past 5 years, supporting 200+ entrepreneurs in 16 different industries, creating over 81,500 indirect jobs and over 1,700 direct jobs, 31% of which are held by women. We look forward to continuing to support our 91 innovative portfolio startups, being part of their growth journey, and making an even bigger impact across Africa and the region.”
Over the course of the last year of the Cairo Seed Program, the Flat6Labs team has been working closely with the 12 startups, helping them develop their core business solutions and expand their operations by offering them business and technical training and mentorship sessions led by some of the best business leaders and industry experts in Egypt and the region.
The Flat6Labs 2023 Demo Day in Cairo was sponsored by our partner, SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy.
The 12 startups that showcased in the Flat6Labs 2023 Demo Day in Cairo are:
Facilitating the order delivery process for small and medium sellers.
Humm is a food-focused multimedia company at the intersection of tech, e-commerce, and the creator economy.
We are the only Online Healthy Food Marketplace.
A tech-based transportation services solution for uniformly transporting commuters, students, and supply fleets for companies.
The Friends and Family money application.
MENA’s leading tech recruitment web solution trusted by 100s of companies in 10+ countries worldwide.
BabRizk is the first blue collar recruitment application with loyalty programs and fintech services.
Facilitating and Automating Mortgage Financing Online.
Fuelin is a smart platform to help Companies better manage and monitor their fleet fuel consumption.
Sharia-compliant trade finance platform, availing working capital merchandise credit limits to empower small business growth.
Katteb is an AI Writer that consistently learns. It can write about any recent or future events using state of the art AI technology.
Melior is a straight-forward, effective, and robust patient engagement software.